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Holmgren on Bryz: ‘He’s been our best player — by far’

Feb 11, 2013, 2:23 PM EDT

Ilya Bryzgalov Getty Images

Early last week, Flyers captain Claude Giroux called Ilya Bryzgalov Philadelphia’s “best player.”

Today, it was general manager Paul Holmgren’s turn.

“He’s been our best player — by far,” Holmgren told ESPN.com. “He’s been great. He’s had a great focus. Every game, he’s been great.”

Bryzgalov is 5-5-1 with a .921 save percentage – impressive stats made all the more important given the Flyers’ offensive struggles.

And unlike last season – his first in Philadelphia after signing a nine-year, $51 million contract – consistency has been a strength for Bryzgalov. The 32-year-old has only surrendered four goals once; otherwise it’s been three or fewer.

Besides goaltending, the Flyers (5-6-1) have little to brag about. After 12 games, they’re in the bottom half of the league in goals (2.4, 22nd), goals against (2.7, 16th), power play (17.3%, 17th), and penalty kill (77.4%, 22nd).

Philadelphia is in Toronto tonight to kick off a stretch of six straight road games. The Flyers have just one victory in six tries away from Wells Fargo Center.

  1. disp350 - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Now if he can just learn to stop a breakaway or shoot out and stop going into that stupid butterfly every time someone is in front. He has shooters just aching for a chance to rifle one over his shoulders. No doubt he has been much stronger and steadier this year, but these are still weaknesses that are regularly exploited and he needs to shore them up if he is going to take them far.

    • xflyersx - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Case closed.

    • chelseax11 - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Or maybe he just needs somebody else besides himself and the top line to play defense. Bryz has had one disappointing game so far (Washington). When the team in front of him lets the opposing team put 40 shots on goal, don’t be surprised when a few go in. For a guy that fans had essentially already bought out before the lockout even ended, he’s been the only thing that has kept the Flyers relevant. If Philly could pull themselves together and return their offense to 2012 form, they would be a scary, scary team.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        I honestly believe that their offense will return to form, maybe not to last years level but atleast in the top 12 in the league. To be a top scoring team you need.skill, opportunity, and luck. They’ve had opportunities and they have skill, they just don’t seem to getting the bounces. It’s similar to what’s happening with the Kings. They have plenty of talent and they absolutely peppered Howard with shots yesterday, but they just couldn’t get the bounces. Plus the Flyers injury woes have played a part. If Giroux and the PP can get going then they’ll be dangerous.

  2. 19to77 - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    So they went from having spectacular, League-wrecking offense and an empty net to great goaltending and nothing in front of it.

    Homer might want to think on the virtues of building a consistent roster without partially blowing it up every couple years. I mean, three top-six forwards have been shuttled out in the last two years, and they’ve had a new goalie combo in each of the last three. That’s not how teams win Cups.

    • xflyersx - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Carter, Richards, Jagr, JVR – four in the last 2 years

      • valoisvipers - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Homer brought in a lot of younger talent and not magic beans, Give it time,they will be a great team.

      • 19to77 - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        Whoops, meant to say “home-grown” in there somewhere, my bad. I meant three of their own prospects, brought up in their system. But yeah, Jagr’s productivity last year is certainly looking missed now. And JVR’s just shining in Toronto so far. Bad moves. Should’ve had faith in the team that he had.

      • 19to77 - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        Valois – yeah, if he gives them a few years to grow into it, sure. But this is Homer we’re talking about. The whole point is that he doesn’t have the patience to DO that.

  3. steelpenbucs87 - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    To pinpoint the biggest reason for the Flyers struggles (IMO) just look at those last two numbers – gotta get it done on Special teams. When a team is killing it on Special teams it’s a huge boost… when they aren’t, well they end up being the other kind of special

    • mclovinhockey - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      I highly agree, the Flyers special teams have gone to hell.

      It is also clear that teams will need to stay healthy to win this year and Philly has pretty much had the worst luck of that in the league.

      • valoisvipers - Feb 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        The Wings are pretty banged up too, but you have to suck it up and the players that get the extra ice time, have to make the most of their chance.

  4. hockeyfan28 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    More so then any flyers team I can remember there is just something wrong with them like every game is a struggle win or lose I don’t fault Bryz even for the debacle in Toronto tonight but something is just very wrong with this team

  5. stakex - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Bryz has certainly been more consistent this year, but hes also given up a few soft goals that have cost the Flyers at least a couple games.

  6. broadstbully33 - Feb 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    They need a top line player. The talent and prospects are there the experience is not. This team needs a pure sniper for Giroux to pass to. Couturier needs to show his offensive skill we all no he is a future selke finalist in the future. B. schenn has been a huge disappointment thus far this season. McGinn has bright future ahead of him. Jvr for schenn is still a deal I would do. Schenn has been great so far with few lapses and has played well as kimos mate. Read has just been flat out spectacular and has pretty much carried the offense I wouldn’t mind seeing him up with Giroux. Simmonds has been great as well. Briere has been ok but he just isn’t a regular season player any more but when playoffs come he is second to none. Grossman has been great back on the blue line coburn has been steady I am hoping for more offense from him this year but have yet to see it.

  7. phillyphannn83 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Jinxed ‘em, thanks. lol

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